After dropping four points in our last three Premier League fixtures, Chelsea are currently level on points with Tottenham and Arsenal. While this run did include two of the hardest games in Liverpool and Manchester United, Sarri will be looking to take home all three points from Turf Moor. Anything else other than a full strength lineup would be a massive surprise.
Maurizio Sarri mentioned that he is aiming to make “six or seven” changes to the starting eleven from Thursday, and we should expect him to make at least as many, if not more. One position where there’s not much debate is at goalkeeper as Kepa Arrizabalaga is sure to continue starting for the foreseeable future.
In defense, Sarri’s trusted quartet of Marcos Alonso, Antonio Rüdiger, David Luiz and César Azpilicueta will all be returning to the starting eleven. While the debate continues to rage on whether David Luiz or Andreas Christensen, who enjoyed a good game against BATE Borisov, should be starting, the head coach clearly trusts the veteran defender.
The midfield will likely see one change to the usual trio, as Jorginho and N’golo Kanté will probably be joined by Ross Barkley instead of Mateo Kovačić who played most of the match on Thursday. Barkley has been in fine form and is certainly giving Sarri a selection headache, and that’s a good thing.
The question of who will be up front depends largely on Eden Hazard’s fitness. If he’s fit, he’ll join Morata and one of Pedro or Willian. If he’s not, then both Pedro and Willian should start.
Arrizabalaga | Alonso, Rüdiger, David Luiz, Azpilicueta | Kovačić, Jorginho, Kanté | Hazard, Giroud, Pedro
THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE
The WAGNH community’s choice showed a degree of uncertainty in some positions, most surprisingly at center back as Christensen (43%), is back firmly in the discussion. And while Barkley easily beat out Loftus-Cheek (21%) and Kovačić (32%) for the third midfield spot, Hazard’s fitness riddle muddles the front line situation, with Willian (43%) trailing just behind. Hudson-Odoi garnered a notable 15% after his European debut, while 9 brave votes (less than 1%) were cast for Danny Drinkwater, 2 less than for Lucas Piazon.
Arrizabalaga (98%) | Alonso (95%), Rüdiger (99%), David Luiz (57%), Azpilicueta (94%) | Barkley (72%), Jorginho (92%), Kanté (89%) | Hazard (53%), Morata (59%), Pedro (82%)
My preferred lineup doesn’t differ from the ones above, though my third choice in midfield was picked purely due to my own hype after a Loftus-Cheek masterclass. The striking position caused a bit more of a headache as I honestly didn’t know who to pick from the two at our disposal. Both strikers are in desperate need of goals, but Giroud arguably represents the better choice due to his physicality.
Arrizabalaga | Alonso, Rüdiger, David Luiz, Azpilicueta | Loftus-Cheek, Jorginho, Kanté | Hazard, Giroud, Pedro
COME ON, YOU BLUES!